Diplomatic Immunity

By Petrocelli, Joe | Law & Order, May 2005 | Go to article overview

Diplomatic Immunity


Petrocelli, Joe, Law & Order


The concept of immunity began with ancient tribes. Ancient Greek and Roman governments understood that in order for important information to flow freely, messengers bearing that information would have to be protected. The messengers from rival tribes were allowed to travel with impunity; killing a messenger was considered a breach of honor.

The concept of immunity between nations' representatives is still respected. The concept was codified as international law in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations in 1961. Diplomatic Immunity is the principle of international law which establishes that certain foreign government officials are not subject to the jurisdiction of local courts or other authorities.

There are over 100,000 representatives of foreign governments in the United States, most of whom live and work in the Washington, DC and New York City area. However a large number are assigned to major cities throughout the country. Almost all of the foreign representatives and their families are free to travel anywhere in the United States for business or pleasure so it is plausible that any law officer in the country may encounter a person claiming diplomatic immunity.

Many law officers do not fully understand diplomatic immunity so they may be inclined to be overly generous in its application. Officers are obligated under law to recognize and respect a person's immunity status but are not expected to ignore or condone the commission of crimes.

The US Department of State administers diplomatic immunity issues. It recognizes two levels of immunity afforded to foreigns based on their job and status. Diplomatic agents (ambassadors), their diplomatic staff and family (spouses and children until the age of 21) are afforded full criminal immunity.

Full criminal immunity is more than immunity from prosecution. It means the person can not be detained, searched or arrested, and can not be required to give evidence as a witness. Service staff members have limited criminal immunity. The service staff, including chauffeurs and domestic help, can be detained, arrested and prosecuted for criminal acts. Service staff can be required to give evidence as a witness and their persons and property can be searched. Family of the service staff has no immunity.

If summoned to the scene of a criminal investigation involving a person who claims diplomatic immunity, an officer should first attempt to verify the status of the suspect with the US Department of State (or with the US Mission to the United Nations). Once the status has been verified the officer should note information necessary for the report and the person must be released.

A protected person cannot be handcuffed unless he is presenting an immediate threat to safety. The person may not be detained or arrested. If the status cannot be verified the officer will inform the person that he will be detained until the immunity status can be confirmed. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Diplomatic Immunity
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.